Walls are full of stories just waiting to be read. Walls along the streets are where you can find posters advertising anything from items for sale to concerts or political statements. On the walls of homes you’ll find family pictures from current and past generations, school photo’s and children’s art work. Back alleys and walls underneath bridges are often decorated with bright graffiti, illustrating messages to the world.
When I visited Prague last June, I made a point to checking out the famous John Lennon Wall, now an iconic landmark in the city.
At one time, it was just a normal wall like any other. However, during the 1980’s young Czech’s (who saw the now deceased Lennon as a pacifist hero) began painting Lennon and Beatles inspired graffiti messages and poems on the wall. It was a way to express their feeling towards the communist government. There were often clashes between students and the police on the nearby Charles Bridge, as the youth stood up for their political views and displeasure with the communist rule. Western music was even banned by the government and some musicians were even arrested for playing it.
Despite many attempts by the police to paint over the wall, the youth always managed to repaint their messages of peace and love to the world. Today that is exactly what the wall is: a symbol of global peace and freedom.
In November of last year I was saddened to hear that the wall had again been painted over, leaving a simply message stating “The Wall is Over.” This was apparently done by students as an art project to commemorate the “25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in Czechoslovakia (and) ‘to provide free space for new messages of the current generation’.”
I personally hope that the wall will again be adorned with graffiti, sending inspiring messages of peace, love and freedom to the world!